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Pizza Oven Safety Advice

Pizza ovens have become increasingly popular over recent years, and it’s no surprise. The pizza oven is a great way to create a delicious array of food within the comfort of your own home & garden, but as with any cooking appliance there are safety tips to follow. Having a pizza oven for home use is a great opportunity to impress friends & family with your culinary skills, but it’s very important to know how to use your pizza oven correctly and safely to make sure that nothing happens that can impede your fun.

Health & Safety

In a similar manner to a BBQ, the pizza oven has a number of health and safety considerations. However, these are all very easy to protect against and we’re going to discuss a few here to keep you informed.

Having a pizza oven outdoors is a great addition to your garden, so let’s look at how you can ensure safe usage every time. 

Assembly & Positioning

These are the first steps in making sure that you’re operating your pizza oven in the safest possible manner. Knowing how to build a pizza oven may seem like a complicated task, depending on which model you opt for, and so it is very important to read and fully understand the assembly manual provided. Most of our outdoor pizza ovens come readily assembled but be aware, when purchasing, some ovens may need putting together and some brick or clay pizza ovens may need curing before use. A poorly assembled pizza oven can be a large safety risk down the line, especially if it is structurally weak.

Once it has been safely and securely assembled, the next step is knowing where to position your pizza oven. You should choose a location that is away from flammable material such as children’s toys and washing lines. You also want to ensure that the oven is no closer than 10 feet from the entrance to your home, with the entrance to the oven facing away from your home. Ensure that there’s ample ventilation for your pizza oven to prevent smoke inhalation for anyone nearby; don’t place the oven under a gazebo or covering, and allow the smoke to disperse. You can use a cover for your oven after cooking, to protect against the weather, but during cooking ensure the smoke can move away freely. 

Fire safety

This is a very important area to note if you’re seeking a pizza oven for home use, or a pizza oven for your patio. If you’re using a wood fired oven then you want to monitor the heat and control the temperature within. If you continue to add wood to an already adequate fire then you risk over-feeding the flames and increasing the temperature higher than needed; not only will this ruin your food but it will also increase the oven’s smoke output. Use our how to light a wood fired pizza oven guide to learn how to safely start a fire in your pizza oven. There is a specific method for keeping the air circulating and controlling the flames.

When lighting your oven there are a few things to avoid doing: try not to use paper as this will create an ash, you also risk burning your fingers. Do not use large pieces of kindling to light the flame, and definitely DO NOT use any form of accelerant e.g. paraffin or petrol as this can cause the flame to grow much larger than expected and become out of control. We have a guide on how to light your pizza oven correctly but as a general rule of thumb, use hardwood or wood chips when cooking. Once the fire is in full swing and the food is cooking, you may be tempted to rearrange the kindling or your food to optimise the cook. If you feel you have to do this then use long handed utensils to avoid burning your hands or setting clothing items alight.

General Information

If you have a gas pizza oven, it’s vital that you understand how to safely use and store your bottle during and after use. When using your gas bottle, make sure it is stood upright with a secure connection to the hose. You want to keep the bottle concealed as much as possible, ideally within a protective shelter e.g. storage unit next to your pizza oven. Make sure to routinely check on your bottle during cooking to ensure it is safe. Once you are done with the bottle you must store it upright, in a protected area, away from any potential sources of heat and ignition. Store your bottles outdoors away from any living areas.

If a crack appears in your pizza oven then do not worry, this can be normal. If you believe that the crack has weakened the structural integrity of your oven then it is recommended to consult a professional to assess the oven and make any repairs if needed. Pizza ovens can often crack as a result of the continuous extreme temperatures that they are exposed to, if it is safe to use then it is safe to cook your food in.

Food Safety

Ensuring food safety is equally as important as the general health and safety discussed above. It’s very common to use an oven to cook a variety of different meats, and therefore you must be careful to learn how to properly clean your pizza oven. If you’re cooking raw meat then you must make sure that once the cooking is finished and the oven has cooled, that the pizza stone is cleaned thoroughly. Alternatively, you can cook raw meat on a tray or rotisserie to avoid placing it directly on to the surface of the pizza stone.

If you’re new to cooking with a pizza oven then you may not know how meat should look when fully cooked. If this is the case then you want to check the pizza oven temperature and the temperature of your food before serving; don’t be afraid to cut into the meat to make sure that it is definitely cooked. How hot your pizza oven should be is dependent on what you’re cooking; if you’re not sure then research before cooking to be safe. Make sure you always check meat is cooked thoroughly throughout – while this is one of the advantages of using a pizza oven as opposed to a conventional oven, if you don’t let the oven heat properly before cooking or if the temperature is too high, you may not get your desired outcome.

If the food you are cooking spills over, or creates a mess whilst cooking, it is best to leave it until the fire is out and the oven has cooled off. If you feel it is imperative to deal with the spillage mid-cooking then use a long-handed utensil and attempt to do so without the use of any flammable materials.

Finally, it is important that if your pizza oven has an opening without a cover during cooking that you prevent any food contamination. Contamination can occur from placing your oven near freshly cut grass if there is a slight wind, or near shedding animals etc. Try to keep the opening as protected as possible without covering it (if this is the design) to ensure that you keep your meat as safe as possible.

With the information above you will be able to safely use your pizza oven, but if there is anything that you’re not sure of then make sure you do your research before cooking. More importantly than all, make sure to study the manual for your model, including how hot your pizza oven should be, how to clean it, and how to maintain it. Once you have learnt all of this then all that is left to do is enjoy the delicious food you make.